March-ing to Detroit: Ishpeming heads up area wrestling teams with 3 going to state individual finals

Westwood’s Rocco Carlson readies in the top position to take on Isaiah Crawford of Pellston in his third match Saturday at the MHSAA Division 4 individual regional held in Charlevoix. Carlson won this match to advance to the third-place match that he also won, qualifying him for the state individual finals in Detroit on March 1-2. (Photo courtesy Sandy Maki)

Up next: MHSAA individual wrestling state finals, March 1-2, at Ford Field, Detroit


ISHPEMING — Led by Ishpeming High School, seven area wrestlers have advanced to the MHSAA individual wrestling state finals to be held at Ford Field in Detroit on March 1 and 2.

Three of the four Hematites wrestlers who qualified for Division 4 individual regional at Charlevoix finished in the top four on Saturday to advance to the finals.

Also wrestling at Charlevoix, Westwood had two state wrestlers qualify for the finals while Munising and Newberry had one each.

These wrestlers made it to regionals after an individual district held in Munising the previous Saturday. The Charlevoix regional matched up those wrestlers with ones from the Oscoda district.

None of the three wrestlers from Marquette in Division 2 nor Negaunee in Division 3 made it past their regional tourneys also held downstate on Saturday.

The finals include nearly 900 wrestlers converging on downtown Detroit from the MHSAA’s four divisions, each having four regionals.

Ishpeming was led by freshman Jaegar Wilson, who finished second at Charlevoix in the 119-pound division with a 2-1 record.

He opened with an 11-2 victory over John Edwards of Oscoda before pinning Travis O’Neill of Newberry at 5:52. That got him to the regional championship match, where he lost to Daven Ellison of Rudyard 15-9.

Junior teammate Alaric Martin was third at 171, winning three of four matches. He began by defeating Isaiah Groesser of Mancelona 16-9, then lost to Will Ciske of Mio-Au Sable 9-3.

That knocked him into the consolation bracket, where he defeated Greg Paquin of St. Ignace 10-2 and pinned Hunter Kirchner of Mason County Central at 4:16 in the third-place match.

The third Hematites’ state qualifier was senior Andre Walsh, who was fourth at 189 after splitting four matches.

He opened with a pin of James Herrick of Roscommon at 1:46 before losing to Caleb Burklund of Iron Mountain 7-2.

In the consolation bracket, he pinned Creed Watson of LeRoy Pine River at 1:19 before being pinned in the third-place match by Caleb Brown of St. Ignace at 1:44.

Westwood was led by the area’s other regional championship finalist, senior Sam Gilles.

Wrestling at 215, Gilles went 2-1 as he pinned Max Turk of Mason County Central at 49 seconds and defeated Skylar Miller of Lake City 14-5.

That advanced him to the title match, where he lost to Tim Rizor of Pine River 5-2.

Junior teammate Rocco Carlson was third at 160, going 3-1. He pinned Brennan Nickodemus of Traverse City St. Francis at 5:01, then lost to Andy Dault of Oscoda 4-0.

In the consolation bracket, he decisioned Isaiah Crawford of Pellston 10-4 before meeting Nickodemus again in the third-place match, which Carlson won with a pin at 3:21.

WHS coach Dan Carlson said this is Gilles’ third trip to the state finals, and Rocco Carlson’s first.

Munising senior Richard Sneller Jr. went 3-1 to finish third at 285. He pinned Austin Potter of Lake City at 3:32 before falling to Jake Renfer of Manton at 1:42 to go into the consolation bracket.

He then pinned Giovanni Colavecchi of Iron Mountain in 10 seconds before again pinning Potter at 3:12 for third.

Newberry freshman Travis O’Neill finished fourth at 119 after going 2-2. He opened with a 8-6 win over Jared Cove of Frankfort before being pinned by the Hematites’ Wilson.

In the consolation bracket, he pinned Seth Duncan of Pine River at 1:52 before falling to Brandon Alcayde of Mio-Au Sable at 4:14.

Three other area wrestlers also won a match at regionals before being eliminated.

Westwood’s Jackson Vidlund at 215 won his second match over Max Turk of Mason County Central 11-7, Marquette’s Joe Lagrou at 119 opened with a pin at 1:37 of St. Clair’s Cam Haslem, and Negaunee’s Leo Helppi at 189 won his second match over Austin Fowler of Reed City 3-1.

Two days earlier, Westwood participated at the Division 4 team regional at St. Ignace. While edging the host Saints 42-37 in the semifinals, the Patriots fell in the championship meet to Onaway 45-30. The downstate team defeated Iron Mountain in the other semifinal.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is